Your Health

5 ways to get organized and minimize stress over the holidays

According to a research study conducted by Healthline, only 10 percent of respondents reported typically experiencing no stress during the holidays, which means 90 percent feel stressed in some way.

While the holiday season can be challenging for many, following are five tips for getting organized and minimizing stress during this often complex time of year.

• Make weekly to-do lists and focus on getting your top three most important holiday tasks completed each day. Never-ending demands during the holidays are a surefire way to create stress. However, developing a to-do list either online or in a good old-fashioned notebook can help you prioritize what needs to get done. Taking it a step further and just focusing on the three most important tasks each day can encourage you to focus on realistic and achievable outcomes, which can help you feel like you’re more in control.

• Shop early and online whenever possible. Even for those who normally enjoy shopping, holiday shopping is an entirely different ballgame. Crowds, lines, a lack of parking and carrying around heavy shopping bags can dampen your holiday spirit. Therefore, planning in advance and shopping early, perhaps in November, will enable you to be ahead of the game and avoid getting stuck in the holiday shopping madness. Shopping online from home or when you’re on the go is another good option that’s convenient and could give you the opportunity to take advantage of special deals and discounted shipping rates during this time of year.

• Put holiday events on your calendar and allow yourself to decline some so that you’re not overscheduled. When the holiday party and event invitations start pouring in, it can be exciting, but it’s also overwhelming. Focus on the invitations that are most important to you, whether they’re from family, close friends or work. Other invitations may be enticing, but if they pose logistical challenges or are from acquaintances, perhaps those can be declined to avoid overscheduling. Carving out some downtime during the holidays can ensure that you and your family will be energized and ready to enjoy the events that mean the most to you.

• Remember to practice self-care. Even with the busyness of the holidays, it’s important to remember to eat healthful foods and practice portion control, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and practice mindfulness to manage stress. Reading a good book, taking a bath or watching a holiday movie at home are other great ways to take care of and center yourself so that you can be at your best.

• Maintain perspective and remember what the holiday season is truly all about. As stressful as the holidays can be, they’re also a wonderful time of year to make memories with your loved ones and be kind, giving and empathetic to others. Therefore, it’s important to keep perspective and focus on what matters most and not let yourself get bogged down in all of the logistics and minutia.

Reena Vokoun is owner of the Los Altos-based Passion Fit. For more information, visit

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